Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh Yeah, And There Was A Wedding

It was very difficult to get up this morning. Not because of the missing construction outside the room or the late hour of the morning. It was more the lack of having any sightseeing or getting back and forth from downtown DC by the Metro and there was no decision to be made about which ethnic style of dining that we would try for the day. Today we were back in Lexington and the short vacation to Washington, DC is just a blur of memories and their repeated relating to all of our friends.

Last week, Mrs Sweeper and I left town (you knew that I wasn't doing much around here didn't you) and took the Amtrak Cardinal to Washington DC. Just us, for a few days for the first time in years. Fourteen hours on the train, rolling through beautiful countryside with fellow travelers heading for points nearer or farther than ours but all with the idea that this was a great way to travel.

We got to Union Station approximately 1 hour late and spent some time agonizing over just which type of Metro fare card would do us the most good, but we finally bought our passes and ventured into the world of doing what we could without an auto. From Union Station we got on the Red line to Metro Center, switched to the Orange Line and rode out to Vienna Va. That is about equivalent to staying in Georgetown or Nicholasville from downtown Lexington. Exiting the Metro station to the Park-and-Ride lot, it was a quick step across the street to the hotel and some dinner, then bed.

The next morning, bright and early, the construction crew began to finish up the site prep work on the lot next door and we all know just how soundproof hotels are these days. We took a reverse ride back downtown to the Smithsonian and the Natural History Museum. We took a turn around the Sculpture Garden and on the National Archives, then trying to avoid the Tea Party protesters, went back across the Mall to the Air & Space Museum. We could have spent the whole day in there but had to leave early due to a reception for dignitaries and a presentation of Obama's announcement on the Space Program. Our dinner consisted of a visit to Jaleo's for a fabulous tapas meal. A walk along the Mall toward the Metro stop while again avoiding the protesters and a ride back to the hotel.

Friday morning we went downtown again, this time to the National Geographic Society building and more of the general sightseeing of a major urban city. It was while we were there that my brother, the father of the bride, called with transportation details concerning the rehearsal dinner (Oh yeah the wedding). The wedding site was well outside the downtown area in Leesburg(about the same as Mt. Sterling) and the rest of the guests were staying there. We finished what we were doing and made our way back to the hotel in time to be picked up and drive about 45 minutes to Leesburg. This is NOT my idea of a convenient area to get around, but I don't have to live there. It was while getting back from the rehearsal dinner that we decided to rent a car for the day.

Next day, we called for a rental, parked the car in the lot and went downtown by Metro to see the area around the Union Station and the Shoppes(Mrs Sweeper loves to shop). We left ourselves plenty of time for the delays that they were predicting due to track maintenance. The traffic and some not quite current directions from Google, an unplanned mis-turn and other general foul-ups caused us the nearly miss the ceremony. We got there just in time.

Sunday morning I returned the rental and the Mrs finished packing the bags. We then checked out, took Metro back to Union Station, had breakfast and packed some food for the train and relaxed all the way back to Cincinnati. Do I wish that we could get closer? You bet. But we will take what we can get. I heard many comments from others on the train (there were so many cell phone conversations going on in that car) and all were very positive about train travel, the leg room, the convenience, the lack of stress and the scenery. The only stress was from those on the other end who were wondering just where those to whom they were talking were.

Mrs Sweeper and I both agree that this was one of our better vacations and that train travel is THE way to go when possible. I cannot say enough about the Amtrak personnel, from Tom Holley in Cincinnati to the conductors and crews on both ends of the trip and the gate crew in DC. itself. They were professional and efficient and good at their jobs. Sure, we left in the middle of the night and we got back just after 1 AM, and I am sure that I would like a bit better schedule and speed, but this is they way that I prefer to travel. I had a great trip.

Oh yeah, And there was a wedding.

1 comment:

Ben said...

If you think that's great, you should try the train between DC and NYC sometime. So fantastic. Can you imagine if we could take the train up to Cincinnati or Louisville for a quick day trip? Or for a show at night? Or dinner?